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    Marathon of an Ahmadi

    In light of the current topics in politics about religious hatred and Ahmadis, and the NYC Marathon this Sunday (in which I am running, it will be my second), I thought to share this with my friends.

    I was only a 7th grade student in Multan, Pakistan when the Ahmadi riots started. The trouble began when a group of med students (form Nisthar Medical College, Multan) started teasing Ahmadi women at the train station in Rabwah (Ahmadi town in Punjab) en route to Swat for summer holidays. These students were beaten by Ahmadi men. The news spread, and the entire province of Punjab got engulfed in riots. Countless Ahmadis died, and the Bhutto government declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims under protests and demonstrations by the Mullahs (his justification, to save Ahmadis from massacre). Since Multan was the epicenter of the riots, it gotten very bad there. I was a student in a Missionary school (admitted there for no fee since my parents couldn’t afford any). But even that free education seemed very expensive to them as the cost of just being there meant a lot of money for my poor parents. I stayed in a dorm (4 to a room). Late at night, I heard noises coming down the hallway, “let’s kill him, he is an Ahmadi”. My buddies in the room asked to leave right away. I jumped out of the window from second story in my boxer shorts and ran like hell for 6 miles (being a track star saved my life) to a nearby factory colony where my relatives lived. I took refuge with them for a night and the next day my uncle took me to Lahore to be with my other relatives. I stayed with them until I finished my high school. My parents lived in another town in Punjab, where my Dad worked in a factory. I enrolled in a local school and although I had gotten fed up with education, my parents convinced me to continue. I passed my high school with good results, and got admitted to one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the country, in Lahore, for 2-year college. Graduated with good grades and got all kinds of scholarships to continue for my BA in England. I continued running.

    Later I learnt that those who wanted to kill me were my classmates and people that I thought were my friends. I forgave them. They were only little boys not knowing what they were doing.

    My experiences in Lahore made me stronger, it also made me hate religious intolerance. I Became a radical and a self appointed black sheep in my family. My elders still don’t like my views, but love me more than I can say.

    After finishing my BA, I went back to Pakistan for an interview on the recommendations from my professors. The interview was arranged by them for a job for me with one of the Government Departments (Ministry). The interview went very well, and when I asked about the career path and the opportunities for advancement, I was told that since I am an Ahmadi, I could only be promoted upto a certain grade level. It felt like someone dropped a bomb on me. Anyway, we shook hands and I said byes to my interviewers and thanked them for their courtesies and the lousy cup of coffee and told them that I wasn’t sure whether to accept the job or continue for graduate studies, for which I had acceptances in many US and UK colleges with scholarships. I headed home to Lahore, when I came home my Mom asked “Son, how did the interview go, isn’t it nice that you can live in Pakistan and be close to us”. I said to my Mom, “I think I should continue graduate school, and Mom, you should be very proud that you have raised a fine man”. I locked myself in my room, smoked myself a “J”, and cried a little, thinking that there is so much I want to do for my country, and some bureaucrat tells me that I am not good enough to be promoted beyond a certain grade level. I never told my Mom to this day why I turned down the job in Pakistan. My family has been through so much and my Mom is always ever so optimistic and believes that things will get better.

    After doing my grad school, I kept doing whatever I could for my village. I will continue to do that. I kept running.

    Now here I am, running my second Marathon. This time I am not running away from gangsters and hoodlums, I am running for my relatives who gave their lives, I am running for my sisters who died of breast cancer, I am running for my motherinlaw, who has advanced stage lung cancer (most probably her last Christmas), and most of all I am running because I am a proud son of my motherland!

    #2
    DAMN RIGHT!

    Comment


      #3
      That's why we need to seperate the religion from the affairs of the state. Religion is such a personal thing. Being a Pakistani I am proud of the only nobel peace prize which was accorded to a Pakistani, as to the religion of the receipient it should not matter at all. We should be proud of such individuals.

      Comment


        #4
        I like to add more to above post. I never had a job experience in Pakistan because I saw what happened to my elder brothers. One first class engineer from NED university and was selected on merit to work on a special project in PIA to make jet for missiles but after security check my brother was rejected because of his believes. My other bother who is doctor in USA wanted to go back to Pakistan in Zia's time. He was given an opportunity to participate in a specail project specially introduced by Zia ul Haq himself. It was for a specialized hospital in Karachi, it was either Zia or somebody in the ministry level who found out about my brother and he himself removed my brothers name from the list. I still want to work for Pakistan and Insha-allah someday I will go back and offer my services to My country.

        Comment


          #5
          NYA.......I continued running......<<

          In the words of Reagan, 'you can run but you cannot hide!'

          O btw, you r found of reading Al-Fazl. Here is a qoute from it. This is from August 21, 1932 issue:

          "The quranic verse Glorified is He who carried His Servant by night from the inviolable Place of Worship (at Mecaa) to the Far Away Place of Worship (at Jerusalem) the neighbourhood whereof we have blessed signifies the Promised Messiah's Mosque at Qadian. And when the truth is that Qadian is equal, in fact a little higher in grade to Mecca, the journey to it will, naturaly be equal to Haj, or even superior to it. Hence, Mian Mahmood said in his Friday sermon that for this reason God has prescribed a zilli (shadow) Haj so that those whom He wants to make use of in the purpose of Islam, and so that the poor, ie, the Muslims of India should be able to participate in it."

          Would you like to expound on it since you claim to be reading this since your childhood? This is another roshandan idea??

          Why not run towards Qadian instead of NY marathon?

          Comment


            #6
            ..

            [This message has been edited by Some1 (edited November 06, 1999).]

            Comment


              #7
              NYA, I can't help appreciating your penmanship.

              Can any Indian here tell me what is this 'Ahmadi' thing that is being discussed ?? I know this is an internal matter of Pakistan but I am curious.........

              Comment


                #8
                Some1...>>Can any Indian here tell me what is this 'Ahmadi' thing that is being discussed ?? I know this is an internal matter of Pakistan but I am curious.........<<

                Well I m not Indian, but I can certainly tell you, equaly good, if not better, about Ahmadi-ism.

                They're known as Ahmadis, Mirzais, Qadiyanis. All are followers of one man called Mirza Gholam Ahmad, dba, Mirza Qadiyan, as he hailed from a place called Qadian, in India. They claim to follow, Islam, but by placing the crown of Apostleship on the head of a person, who as per one report started from his mouth, thus causing him death, has brought whole of the Mankind into as disgrace as the sacred Prophet had made it honourable.

                There are those who are obliged to follow the guidelines, thus, I would request, we move on to other areas, ( here, i m affraid, we are too close to moderator's 'delete')

                But on the other hand, if a widely read person like you dont so far know about this bunch, be rest assured that this mound is so insignificant, and realy not worth knowing.




                [This message has been edited by sabah (edited November 08, 1999).]

                Comment


                  #9
                  NY Ahmadi,

                  I always admire and impress with your balanced and noble comments on different topics. It is sad that how intellectual like you have been discriminated and suffered so much because of your faith. Though I am not much familiar with your faith but it definitely surprised me that community like 'Agha Khani Khojas' whose beliefs are much different than yours, but they still enjoy more than equal rights than average Muslims in Pakistan.

                  The matter is so sensitive and emotional that I can only suggest that, will it not be better for you to face the reality and accept yourself as minority like Christians, then claim for your rights in Pakistan??


                  Sincerely,

                  FARID M

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks to my buddies here for all their best wishes.

                    The night before “the day”, I had the traditional pasta meal at Tavern on the Green (Central Park, NYC), came home at around 10 PM and watched Chariots of Fire (my all time favorite movie). Couldn’t sleep very well, but that is only normal before a long race.

                    The day began quite early for me, I got to the starting point at around 7. The race was to begin at 10.50. It was windy and brisk morning. There were all kinds of runners. There were royals, there were homeless, there were fat and there were skinny, ugly and good-looking, blacks and whites and in between, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, all other faiths. There were world class runners, there were immature. There were able-bodied and there were those who ran on wheel chairs. There were those who could fit into any category, and then there were those who defied your common sense. Women athletes running in a Bra might be a bit too touchy for some, but their race was against Breast Cancer. There were runners who wanted to run against the clock, there were those for whom the finish line would mean the threshold of a new beginning. There were sorry looking bodies, and there were lean machines. There were runners who had “arrogance” written all over their face, and there were those who reminded me of characters out of Dickens. There were runners twice my age, and runners half my age. There were as many stories as there were runners. 30,000 of them. They had nothing in common. The only thing they shared was their “love” of the sport.

                    I started with an easy 9 minute-miles. At mile 6, my boys with their cub-scout pack were handing out water to the runners. I picked up two cups (one from each) and got pumped up after hearing them say “Go Daddy!”. I blew a kiss to my wife and picked up the pace. This moment I thought of my Lahore college trainer (may he rest in peace) and his words echoed in my ears “Run the Pace, races are not finished by legs, its all in your mind! Run the Pace”. I paced myself. The rest of the race for me was 8 minute-miles, slower on uphill, a bit faster flat. It was pounding asphalt for 26 miles. Each step that I took was significant. Each one reminding me of the friends that I have made, the sacrifices my parents made to raise and to educate me, my accomplishments, my losses, my immaturity, and my wish to become a better person. My sinfulness and my virtues. As much as it is said that a runner’s mind is free of thoughts, it cannot be all that true in my case. Each step that I took meant something to me, and it always has for as long as I can remember running.

                    My time was under 4 hours. It wasn’t my personal best, but good enough for me to be proud of. I came home to a lovely family and watched the taped-up race that my wife had recorded for me. I watched all of it. The grace of the runners is indescribable.

                    This morning when I came to work, my buddies had a nice breakfast for me; they all gave me high fives. My boss offered me to take a couple of days off, but I negotiated for a week off for the Christmas week so we could go to Germany to be with my dying mother-in-law. We will go.

                    Thanks to all my buddies here at Gupshupp for their thoughts. I don’t want to get into any more debates with anyone about what is right and what is not. The only thing that saddens me is the concept of “religious hatred” and intolerance. Those who ask questions of other (e.g., why don’t you just accept it, etc., I will say to them, please pose these questions to yourself, put yourself in “their” shoes and see how would you feel should someone suggest to you that “yours” is the “wrong” way. I guess by doing that they might learn something. Someone here who is suggesting that Mirza died in disgrace could perhaps tell us all what is the “right” way to die? The Son of God died while being dragged through the streets, was that a “right” way to die? There are other examples, that I won’t go into, it is not the place nor do I wish to get into mud slinging contest).

                    I would however like to point out that Ahmadis are not that “insignificant”. The first foreign secretary of Pakistan was an Ahmadi (Sir Chaudary Zaffarullah Khan) appointed by Jinnah. If Jinnah thought that Ahmadis are as much a Pakistani as anyone else, why can’t we all? When he died a few years ago, he was not bequeathed a State Funeral. There were representatives from the Arab World, but none from Pakistani Government of Ziaul Haq. Was Zia a better Muslim than Jinnah? People (only a few) would like for you to believe that Ahmadis are not that significant, it is not true. They have missionaries all over the world (excluding Muslim nation – which makes sense, why preach Islam to an already Muslim?)

                    I am also impressed that my friend here has a collection of Al-Fazl newspapers. I hope he keeps them in alphabetical order. He is quoting something from a 1932 edition. I am very impressed. I am also in agreement that the sentiments mentioned there. Why just Mecca be a place to perform Haj? I think my friend here is not familiar with the concept of “symbolism”. In Multan, for example, devotees perform similar rituals on the Mausoleum of Baha-ul-Din Zikriah (patron saint of Multan), and equate that to Haj. I don’t think my friend will dare say anything to Multanis who do that. Nor would he talk about the Sunni-Shia killings (none less than murders being committed in mosques). Is that an “Islamic” way to die?

                    I don’t mean to be insulting to you, but the above views are just a little something for you ponder upon. It might teach you a lesson in something called “tolerance”.

                    I will run for as long as I can. I am not sure about running to Qadiyan, but my favorite track has always been running along the Jehlum River through the lush greens of my village. I will give-up any thing to run that track.

                    My future goals for the next few years are to run the most celebrated Boston Marathon and if the time permits, to run the Berlin Marathon.

                    At the finish line (although reaching there after the first few thousands) the thrust of my fists in the air savored victory. My legs pretty much gave up, but my mind was ready, yet again, for many more challenges and many more hurdles to overcome. Races are not won by legs!

                    Did I mention that I ran in my white shorts, and green top with a crescent and a star. I was very proud of these colors.

                    Comment


                      #11

                      yaaawn!!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hey Baykhatr...
                        Thanx for your enlightment on the Ahmadis.

                        I yawned too after perusing NYA's last post.No matter how much I respect this NYA man for his way with words, I suspect he revels in a kind of romanticism he brings about in his emotional life stories which are at best personal ego trips.I am sure all of us have a few "sob-stories" to tell about our lives but this isn't quite the right place to let them out.
                        I might seem arrogant but I would rather discuss Kashmir than pondering about what NYA had for breakfast.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          This is amongst a few other major problems why our country does not develop.
                          No individual is being set free or given the space to take a step forward.
                          That s why a lot of us are working abroad and building other countries.
                          When will this change.
                          Or : HOW CAN WE CHANGE A LITTLE BIT

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Dear Baykhatr,

                            “Yawn”, I hope you don’t fall asleep while reading Al-Fazal ( I was going to mention another big thick book, but I won’t). Please tell me you read at least parts of it.

                            Dear Some1,

                            It’s amazing to see the strange “international-course” (abbreviate international) a Hindu and a Muslim can get into to express their mutual thirst for things juicier (there is lot more juice other than Kashmir). I used sports as a metaphor to express individual hardships, and it is not an ego-trip. 6 million were cooked in gas chambers, but there are as many stories of their “individual” pride.

                            First you pump me all up by saying how well I write, now you tell me how lousy it is (make up my mind, my friend). To analogize it (and to bring a smile on your face) it is like you are saying to me: “We will have plebiscite in Kashmir. No, we will not, Kashmir is part of India. OK, you can keep the one you captured and we will have the one we have. No. All of it belongs to India. No, we will talk, but no international mediation. We might be willing to listen to outsiders. No, we will not. But may be we will. We are Indians!”

                            I apologize for boring you!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              No man
                              every has got thier own view
                              I like reading your posts VERY MUCH
                              please keep it up

                              Comment

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